The power of true connection: connecting students and educators for student success

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Renee Daniels Collins (Creator)
Brian Irvin Weaver (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Brandi Hinnant-Crawford

Abstract: High school dropouts continue to be a documented problem in the United States and more specifically in North Carolina. Nationally, there were over 2.5 million dropouts reported for the 2012 school year. In North Carolina, 10,889 dropouts were reported for the 2015-16 school year, which was a 4.2 % decrease from the previous school year. Robbins County Schools reported a dropout rate of 3.67%, which was an increase from the preceding school year’s rate. Tillman County Schools reported a rate of 1.83%, a substantial improvement from the preceding school year’s rate. These districts identified that reducing the dropout rate was a high priority for both districts and would be the focus of improvement science efforts. These efforts incorporated methodology that used short cycles for evaluating change that guided revision and development of the improvement initiative. Considering the strong impact of teacher-student relationships on student success, the study focused on developing a comprehensive mentoring program for enhancing student belongingness in school by pairing teachers with students at-risk of dropping out. This was accomplished by establishing methods for identifying potential dropouts and by designing and implementing a teacher-student mentor program. Program evaluation measures included student attendance, discipline incidents, academic performance, extracurricular participation, and school connectedness. This program was implemented in one traditional high school in each district with a sample size of 18 students during the fall semester of 2017. The findings reveal that the school-based mentoring program resulted in improvements for the measures of school connectedness, grades, attendance, discipline incidents, and extracurricular participation.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
belonging, dropouts, graduation, high school, mentor, school connectedness
High school dropouts -- North Carolina
Motivation in education -- North Carolina
Achievement motivation -- North Carolina
Mentoring in education -- North Carolina
Dropouts -- North Carolina -- Prevention

Email this document to